Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chasing normal

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ― poem by Mary Jean Irion



It was the oily footprints going across the kitchen floor that started me scrubbing it- the old school way. The only way I used to do it as my mother hovered over, scolding when an errant swipe of mine missed the sticky spot she could see.  

Someone had cooked something on the stove, spraying "Pam" into the pan to prevent sticking.  But they sprayed not just the pan, but somehow, the floor and every other surface of the kitchen.  Oily footprints abound everywhere.

I scrub and scrub.  And with each swipe I grew more out of breath. I end up leaving squares, to go and pick up another less daunting task and then come back to do more, till finally it is done.

The sense of accomplishment fills me.  I am conquering something.  I am scratching something off my list.  Done.  Finished.  Completed. 

And so my day goes.  My "free" day of no clinic appointments. Open for me to catch up on all the things left undone the last 3 weeks.  Washing sheets for the beds.  Vacuuming the dog hair from the carpet.  Finding the kitchen table, lying buried with the remnants of our busy days- stacks of thank you notes half written, graded spelling tests, days of newspapers, and old clumps of hockey tape.

I work and work.  With Mumford and Sons playing "I will wait,"in the background and the words forming in my head for the email I want to compose for a friend, grieving the worst kind of loss, the loss of her daughter.  How can anything I say help soothe that, or make sense of that?  My prayers for her are just that she can do 1 day plus, plus 1 day, plus 1 day- and some days- 1 hour, plus 1 hour, plus 1 minute to the next.  

As I listen to the music, the words of Dr. Panwalkar are also replaying in my head.  "What is next, Vicky?  Does Shelby have something for you?"  He isn't referring to cancer, or treatment.  But me.  

And I shake my head side to side.  Pondering myself… what is next?  What am I meant to do next?  

I'm open… waiting.  Wondering.  

I'm spent by late afternoon.  I concede defeat, and stumble into bed, knowing, I may not be up and around the rest of the night.  The fatigue numbs my head, balls up in my back springing aches up and down, and renders me motionless.

A few things done… many more only partly done… so much left to do.  Will I ever be able to do it all again?  

Its late.  The boys are home from a long night of hockey practice and Rick is in the back printing room working long into the night. Always, he is working.  

Then I hear a commotion.  I need to make the bed with the clean sheets anyway, so I finally force myself up to the kitchen to see what the noise is about.

Its Colton, vomiting, all over my clean kitchen floor.  Everywhere, covered, again with stink and mess.  

I hurry him off to the bathroom.

Gather my gloves, my floor soap, my rags, still drying on the sink.

And beging scrubbing my floor again.  

"Normal day… let me be aware the treasure you are."












40 comments:

  1. Oh, that comment about Rick always always working is something I just thought about Brian. He is many times working when I go to bed and always working when I get up in the mornings. We have hard-working men.

    I am SO sorry about your sick boy. I just finished this kind of sickness myself, and it is not fun.

    Enjoy all the normal you can find!

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    1. Thankfully - Colton's was short lived and he is back at school today. He sure slept a lot yesterday and rested though. Glad you both are better!

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  2. Oh, Vicky! Wish I lived near you to lend a hand! I've had many of those normal days! And, I am thankful for them, as you are! Sure hope Colton feels better soon.

    "A home with a little dust and a lot of laughter will win the heart of God...every time." ~Samuel Butcher

    Love and hugs, Eileen

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    1. Such a great quote! Colton is back at school and better, yes, thank you. Hugs to you!

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  3. Kids and vomit... sounds fairly normal to me!

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    1. Totally normal and I am seeing it in a whole new way :)

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  4. Oh, sweet Vicky…Thank you for sharing the realness of your days! Bummer about Colton--hope he feels better quickly. Thought of you last night…I gave a speech in Toastmasters and the acronym I used was e.m.b.r.a.c.e. Thank you for helping me…:) my love and prayers!

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    1. I love that you used "embrace" as an acronym for a speech. I love that you joined toastmasters!! Love and prayers to you!

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  5. What a treasure it can be to accomplish a normal task that isn't so easily done anymore. Prayers for healing for both you and Colton.

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    1. Thank you so much Susan- yes- the things I have come to delight in these days- who could have known?

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  6. love the poem--wow!

    oh my! what a punch line for the day! my mom taught me how to clean the floor with the close-up perspective your mom used too...hands and knees, baby! 1 wash, 2 rinses.

    wondering if the sheets you were washing and returning to their place were for your new bed? has it arrived yet?

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    1. Jenn- yes- the whole I wash two rinses- hands and knees- oh how I hated it. And now I often feel its the only way to truly get it clean :)

      Yes! The new bed arrived!! It came with new sheets and pillows too and we have been slowly acclimating to it- its truly better than what we had!!

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  7. Your posts are always such an inspiration to me Vicky. You are always in my prayers.

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    1. Katie- you're so sweet- I pray the move is going well and I will be by to come and catch up soon!

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  8. Replies
    1. Hehe- I'm smiling and giggling at the same time :)

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  9. Love you! We should never take the normal for granted, should we?? When I am often overwhelmed by ALL there is to do, I muster thankfullness so I can do what I need to!

    Praying the normal things will come more easily for you - praying those lungs can breath new life!

    xoxo

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    1. Thank you Tiffany- so much! Its so easy to get caught up in our to-do lists, isn't it? Thank goodness blogging is such a natural way for me to slow down and distract myself with perspective from others like yourself- and then refocus on all the things that count! Love you sweet friend!

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  10. Cleaning the floors on your hands and knees is the only way to really get the job done. Plus it makes it handy for praying ;-)

    I'm so sorry to read about your son and the floor. I echo one of your readers above and wish I could swoop in and be a cleaning angel.

    Instead I'm praying for you - for rest tonight and a blessed day tomorrow. That your son will feel better tomorrow and that no one else will get it. That the Lord will lead you forward. xxx

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    1. Thank you Susan- several friends have come and helped with the cleaning at times- such a blessing. But we're all getting better as a family to stay more on top of most of it. The rest I am learning to just let go. ANd yes- Colton is back at school today :)

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  11. lol
    Isn't that always the way?

    I also do things and thats when people and animals decide to vomit or walk through with dirty feet or spill food. Once its dirty again no one does anything. Then you clean and all of a sudden, every one likes it and a minute doesn't go by when its dirty again.

    Sinful comedy as they say lol

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    1. So true Vic- such experience and wisdom in your words always :)

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  12. oh vicky....
    and how is he today? was it just a flu bug? i guess if i had to pick, my clean floor or carpet, i'd take the clean floor, but still....i can only imagine how you were feeling. thinking of you as always....xo

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    1. It was a very short-lived bug. He slept and rested most of the day yesterday and went to school today. Thanks for thinking of me Beth!

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  13. yes, normal days are precious. I know exactly how that feels.
    Hoping some come your way soon.

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    1. Hilary- I just know how well you know this :)

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  14. Choosing joy, eh? Sara would be proud. :) So sorry he's sick and may you not join him. And do we EVER get it all done? I lowered my standards a long time ago. Other people can clean your house and probably want to because they love you. Only YOU can be mom. Only you can take care of you and give yourself the rest you need. Big hugs, Vicky.

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    1. Robynn- yes- I think you could say that. Really, just not getting upset and frustrated at things that would have one time made me say it was not a good day :) Also that realization, at 13 and 11, they're so close to being out of our house and these "messy" days I will long for at some point- hopefully :) Big hugs back to you!

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  15. I echo Robynn, Vicky. My house cleaner was the first sacrifice of diagnosis, but she has been back a few times since, and hopefully more as my stamina increases at work. Make sure you let people in who will help you with the ordinary so you can focus on & conserve the energy for being mom and wife. But it is so nice to feel normal and useful. I understand that need, too! Hugs and prayers for you.

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    1. I promise I do Marcy! We're still at a stage of moving Rick's office home and the hardest part is all the "stuff" we need to keep sorting through and either finding a home for- or donating or selling. Its a slow process- but we keep at it and some day we'll be back to less stuff and it'll be easier to clean in a more streamlined fashion as I am used to :) Hugs and prayers to you!!

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  16. I'm at a loss for words except you are always in my prayers.

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    1. Thank you Norma- I appreciate you being here and love having those prayers :)

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  17. I think I have finally figured out how to comment on your blog again... it's a foxfire thing. I sure hope today is a better day for you and Colton!... and may you have many many more "normal" days in your future. Minus the vomit. :-)

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    1. Today is better! Colton is back at school and I am going to tackle more cleaning- hehe- normal days- sigh.

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  18. My Dearest Vicky,
    Ahhhhhhh, yes. Sometimes, when it seems impossible to tackle that over which we have no control, just scrubbing a floor or organizing a desk can give such a sense of "see, I did that."
    For this moment I feel normal. This is what I used to do with ease, and now...not so much.

    I can picture you there tackling each square of your floor. I can also hear your heart whisper, "Will I ever be able to do this like I used to do it." I can hear Mumford and Sons pounding out the lyrics..I Will Wait for You!

    I LOVE your poem about the treasure of a normal day. As one of our friends said, shortly before going home to God, "Linda, it's ALL beautiful." Even the mundane holds a miracle, if we stop to see it. While we sometimes wait for the perfect and glorious day to celebrate, it all holds the potential to teach us a lesson. Sometimes even the humor of... I get it all done and then my poor child throws up all over it, is a simple reminder how blessed I am to have a child to minister to. I imagine God chucking and having empathy for the work you did and how life happens.

    One of my on-going life lessons during this season in my life is accepting the "new normals", the unimaginables, the I-never-ever-thought-I-would-be-here-moments. The "it used to be this way" moments and now, unexpectedly, life has taken a turn and my "new normal" looks like this moments. Like you, I sometimes find myself glancing back with nostalgia about how it used to be.

    And then a huge loss happens and I see a friend face a "new normal" that is unbearable, the kind that rips your soul to pieces.It is beyond gut-wretching to face a loss like your dear friend who lost her daughter (she is now on my prayer list). How do we get through that kind of "new normal", filled with unspeakable pain and loss? Second by second. minute by minute.

    It is unsettling to my spirit to have the "I used to do this with ease and now it's hard moments". Sometimes, for me, the comfort comes from just doing the best I can. That is always enough. And then, with some humor of the rarest kind, it is all undone.

    As always, dear Vicky, you are in my prayers. May you celebrate and see the miracle in every day. May clean sheets bring you joy. May you know in your heart of hearts that it is not how much you get done that matters. May you EMBRACE and celebrate the treasure and miracle of another day.

    Thank you for sharing from your heart and reminding me to embrace the "new normals" in my life.

    Holding you close in prayer, hugs and loves!
    Your friend, Linda

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    1. So wise Linda- so well said! Its clear you are living with such intention and learning lessons and then applying what you learn to how you live. Its heartwarming and encouraging to learn how others are doing these tasks as much as I try to as well. Thank you for your insight friend!! Love to you sweet friend!

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    2. Beautiful Linda....beautiful!!!

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  19. Vicky , I have been moving and on the road...I just now caught up on your last 3 post!!! the burn from radiation...OH MY...you humble me...this post...oh how 'REAL' how beautifully real!!! every word...such reality that I found great great beauty in it...nothing swept under the rug. Just your blessed Normal day!!! What is next..Dr P asks...??? Vicky you are doing what's next..every time you write and share...you give us reality...and even tho our paths may not be 100% like yours...in your reality ours becomes just as real and just as beautiful...in our perfect present normal day...I love what you wrote..about one day +1 day + 1 hour..and 1 min and another minute...sometimes that is what it takes...taking life one sec, min, hour, day at a time..thank you for Beautiful you...you are So beautiful you know... I cherish the gift of you!!! prayers and love going your way :)

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  20. Vicky, this is a brilliant post. How do you find such great quotes, for one? They are always so perfectly placed, and always so Vicky-ish. Can I say that? :) I love that I heard about this post first, then got to read how you wove that day into beauty. This is the writing life - living once, and then another time. We create something cohesive from the chaos, and it feels very good, doesn't it? To know that even our messy days can count for something. Nice job, sweet friend. I hope now that the days of vomit are behind you for a while. How we are humbled in this mothering, in this living!

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  21. Thinking about you Vicky. Good to know Colton is over his sickness....and yes, you're still a mom who looks after her boys. Thank goodness for mothers.

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